Nas surveys the rise of a deadly drug on "Angel Dust," his new song from Season Two of Netflix drama The Get Down. Over soulful backing vocals and simmering, low-key funk bass sampled from Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson's 1978 LP, Secrets, the rapper condemns the "destructive, plus addictive" substance: "Angels with dirty faces/ Angels with broken wings/ The devil's dust, PCP, invaded bloodstreams."
On "Angel Dust," Nas testifies about hip-hop conquering a potential life of drug-dealing: "The sidewalk was my brother's office/ We cut our losses, I had choices/ I took a pen, became a voice for the voiceless/ My people walking in a zombie state/ Life is short, even mine's at stake," he raps, followed by samples of late Seventies news reports on the drug.
The Get Down Part 2 premiered last week on Netflix. Nas executive-produces the Baz Luhrmann-created musical-drama, which follows a group of teenagers as disco and rap flourish in late Seventies South Bronx. The hip-hop icon also "narrates" the show as the adult rap voice of protagonist Ezekiel "Zeke" Figuero.
U.S. television network BET recently green-lit the rapper's long in-the-works autobiographical TV drama, Street Dreams, which Nas told Rolling Stone would be "100 percent authentic."
"Even if I don't look cool in it, I just want it to be real and raw," he said. "I didn't see this as a full autobiography at first. But I have so much that's happened in my life already, there was no room for fantasy. I wanted it to be entertaining, but everything from my life seemed to be so strong. It's all reality. There's nothing from my life I didn't want in there."
While Nas hasn't officially announced his 11th studio album, he revealed that the LP was finished on DJ Khaled's literally titled 2016 track "Nas Album Done."
Nas will perform at this weekend's Bluesfest in Byron Bay with New Orleans band the Soul Rebels, closing out the Crossroads stage tonight.